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10 Ways To Keep Your Vagus Nerve Healthy

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the autonomic nervous system, interfacing with the parasympathetic nervous system. It runs from the brain to the farthest part of the colon. As research about trauma, PTSD, stress, Alzheimer's disease and other topics unfold, all eyes come to the vagus nerve. Research to date has proven that the vagus nerve can overreact to certain stress triggers, it can slow a person's sympathetic response, reduce anxiety, affect digestion, gut health, your heart rate, sleep quality, blood pressure and even your speech pattern. When damaged it can lead to diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune disease and so much more.

So, let's explore some ways to work with this part of our body on and off the mat. What can you do to stimulate your vagus nerve and keep a healthy balance?

1. Pranayama, specifically Alternate nostril breathing.

2. Use a diaphragmatic breathing pattern. Breathe slow and completely (meaning exhale all the way).

3. Breathe with your nose; not your mouth.

4. Connect with nature.

5. Watch your acidic foods intake. Try not to begin your day with acidic foods.

6. Drink water and stay hydrated.

7. Move your body. ---- exercise! Yoga and aerobic exercises have been proven to work in improving vagal tone.

8. Express gratitude.

9. Listen to uplifting music that can soothe and calm the body and mind.

10. Smile. The vagus nerve even runs through the face and neck. A simple smile can go a long way!

There are immeasurable health benefits to maintaining a healthy vagal tone. From improving mental health to physical health - the vagus nerve is worth the research! Connect with your health care physician if you should ever need help choosing an approach that works best for you.


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